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Interview with Robert Magara – Executive Director, Kanunga Humanist Association

2022-05-07

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/07/28

Robert Magara is the Executive Director of Kanunga Humanist Association.

Here we talk about his current work.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s talk about some of the new activities of Kanungu. What is new with the humanist schools?

Robert Magara: We are constructing the girls’ hostel at our secondary school.

Jacobsen: What have been important developments for the Kanungu Humanists Association?

Magara: We have two schools. One, a primary school, and two, a secondary school, that we recently started: Brighter Brains Humanist Secondary School.”

Jacobsen: How can people become involved in the association directly or indirectly?

Magara: Every adult male or adult female is allowed to become a member of our association directly free of charge

Jacobsen: If we look at some of the issues in Uganda for humanists, what are the issues now?

Magara: We are verbally attacked and vandalised but no one has been physically harmed yet. I started the Kanungu humanist schools to bring humanism and atheism to the attention of Kanungu people to generate a bread of like minded individuals who can think for themselves, make decisions, and embrace reason.

Most of the schools in Uganda have an attachment to a religious sect and I thought that our children should instead study religion on comparative terms and encourage science and critical thinking instead. Uganda needs more secularism nota religion.

Ugandans are facing various challenges. Major dilemmas are defining the relationship between religion and politics. Uganda inherited multiple faiths, political religions that seek to control state formation and structure. The religious folks think that a campaign for secularism is a campaign that is not in the interest of their faiths.

These prevailing notions have constrained the secular space and hampered our efforts to adopt and adapt models that protect human rights. The religious nuts in places like Kanungu want to talk about witchcraft and all its supposed evils, murdering people, corruption, those evil of African traditionalists, they must be destroyed.

The hypocrisy sickens me in Uganda.

Jacobsen: Looking at the developments for the next generations who have become adults in Uganda, who are up and coming humanist or freethought voices? Why them?

Robert Magara: Those who have reached the age when they are legally responsible for their actions.

Jacobsen:  Who are the upcoming humanist or freethought voices?

Robert Magara: They are the voices of those Ugandans who take a critical view on religion and indeed are resisting its influence on the very ways that they conceptualize themselves and live their lives with the ten humanist principles:

DIGNITY…Proclaim the natural dignity and inherent worth of all human beings.

RESPECT…Respect the life and property of others .

TOLERANCE…Be tolerant of others belief and life styles .

SHARING…Share with those who are less fortunate and assist those in need of help.

NO DOMINATION…Do not dominate through lies or otherwise.

NO SUPERSTITION…Rely on reason, logic and science to understand the universe and to solve life’s problems.

CONSERVATION…Conserve and improve the earth’s natural environment.

NO WAR…Resolve differences and conflicts without resorting to war or violence.

DEMOCRACY…Rely on political and economic democracy to organize human affairs.

EDUCATION…Develop one’s intelligence and talents through education and efforts.

Jacobsen: Why them?

Robert Magara: The reality is that vast majority of atheists, secularists are moral kind people who love life, work hard, care for our friends and family, and seek to do good. 

Jacobsen: What has become worse in the law for secularism in Uganda?

Robert Magara: We are verbally attacked and face harassment.

What has become better in the law for secularism in Uganda? Not yet well.

Jacobsen: What organisations have been important in supporting the activities of humanists in Kanungu?

Robert Magara: The Brighter Brains Institute, The Ontario Humanists,  and the Atheist Alliance.

Jacobsen: Any recommended authors or speakers, or other organizations?

Robert Magara: David Thompson, Phil Zukerman, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Barbara Smoker, and Leo Igwe.

Jacobsen: Any final feelings or thoughts based on the conversation today?

Robert Magara: We are looking to work with the volunteers who want to teach in our humanist schools, care for the orphans, and administer health procedures in our clinic.it will be amazingly good for us.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Robert.

Robert Magara: Thank you too, my friend, Jacobsen.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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